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Modernizing Infrastructure in Transformation Economies
Paving the Way to European Enlargement
The design of infrastructure policies is a controversial issue in the transition economies of Eastern Europe, where the dismal state of infrastructure was widely regarded to be one of the major obstacles to economic recovery and sustained growth. With the imminent enlargement of the EU, Christian von Hirschhausen provides a detailed, reflective analysis of the state of infrastructure development in Eastern Europe. The author illustrates the different approaches to modernizing infrastructure and the successes that have been achieved in terms of fiscal relief, private investment and increased efficiency. Based upon a comparative institutional analysis and extensive field research and case studies, he provides empirical evidence from different sectors (power, gas, railways, roads, R&D), with particular emphasis on countries such as Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, the Baltics and Russia. Given the substantial institutional instability of the early years of transition, the author promotes a gradual but time-consistent approach to liberalization as a more promising path towards a market economy and increased efficiency.
The author offers sound policy recommendations on how best to achieve the successful modernization of East European infrastructure in the course of EU-enlargement. This book will be indispensable to all researchers and academics of European integration and transition economics, policymakers in the EU, and institutions such as development banks which are active in the restructuring process in Eastern Europe and EU-enlargement.
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What Reviewers Are Saying
'This book should be thought-provoking reading for academics and practitioners with a professional interest in infrastructure services, policy design, and the agenda for infrastructure reform in transition economies. Christian von Hirschhausen's rigorous, multi-sector analysis provides a first-time attempt at a balanced assessment of conceptual and practical issues regarding a critical area of the transition to markets. The book also questions some of the generally accepted findings regarding what works and what doesn't in the restructuring of infrastructure in the former centrally-planned economies, with special attention to the political economy of reform.' -- Jose Carbajo, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), London, UK 'The theoretical basis is impressive and the empirical evidence authentic: the book breathes the dust of Hungarian highways and the rust of Estonian power plants. In over five years of field research, the author has acquired an unmatched understanding of the topic and provides clear-cut, highly relevant policy conclusions for EU-enlargement.' -- Axel Siedenberg, Deutsche Bank Research / Economics, Germany 'This book is an insightful study of the neglected issue of the infrastructure of transition economies in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. It chronicles the socialist infrastructure's incompatibility with a market economy and its collapse using aggregate data and valuable case studies, particularly of the energy and transport sectors. Although there have been clear transition successes, the search for an optimal infrastructure policy has been elusive. Although market-based solutions have delivered less than promised due to political-economy and technological factors, their results have not proven inferior to more conservative regulatory approaches. Modernizing Infrastructure in Transformation Economies rounds out our knowledge of a key aspect of the transition process and is to be recommended to all serious scholars of transition and European integration.' -- Paul Gregory, University of Houston, US 'This is the first comprehensive treatment of a highly topical issue. The message of this book is that transition economies need a substantial overhaul of their infrastructure, but that they should ponder gradual rather than radical ways for deregulation and privatization. Institutional, technical and financial constraints should not be ignored and "one-fits-all" type policies are inappropriate.' -- Irina Akimova, Institute for Economic Research, Ukraine